As I’ve said very recently, letter reversals are quite normal for emerging readers and writers. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with helping our kiddos remember the tough ones.
Back in January, I saved a Word World episode because I thought that the way it handled the tricky letters b and d was really awesome. Every so often we watch it again, just so I can try to make this catchy little song stick in Maddy, Owen, and Cora’s heads.
Sometimes they need reminding. Tonight was one of those nights.
Here’s the skinny. . .
- Putting the b- and d- Confusion to Bed: Tonight while I was helping a tired Maddy complete her “Read to Me, Talk with Me” assignment (fyi: these are very simple activities for kindergartners to complete after they read a book with a parent), she paused and looked at me after she wrote a letter ‘p’.
I don’t know if that’s a ‘p’ or a 9, and I don’t really care, she said. I’m going to hope it’s a ‘p’, though, because I’m adding ‘picture’ to my list. (She was making a list of all of the things she could see in Baby Bear’s messy room from the book, Goldilocks and The Three Bears, by James Marshall, 1988.)
I said, Maddy, it’s okay to ask for help, though, if you want some. Yesterday when we started this, you wrote the number ’49’ on the page. Remember, you counted 49 books in Baby Bear’s room? Maybe that will help you. We all need help sometimes.
She looked up and saw 49, and she said, Oh, I remember.Maddy was one tired list-writer tonight,
and the b’s and d’s were giving her trouble. . .
But when she got to the ‘d’ in ‘teddy bears’, she looked at me again. She said, I know ‘d’s because they’re in my name, but sometimes I mix them up in other words. I think I need help with d’s.
That was all I needed to bust out with, Liiiiine and circle is the lettaaa ‘bbbbeeeee’, circle and liiiiiine is the lettaaaa ‘ddddeeee’. . .
The episode of PBS’s Word World that I mentioned above contains a crazy-catchy song that helps kiddos remember how to distinguish letters b- and d-. It’s cute. It’s funny, and I think it can help.
Because I know it will come up again sometime soon, I made a b- and d- sheet for Maddy to use–not so much to bore her out of her mind as much as I want to get her drawing and thinking.
It contains the lyrics to Frog’s b- and d- song, a place to practice b’s and d’s, and a place to draw some words just like they do in Word World.
We want our children to write freely, without stressing over whether they are writing the letters correctly. But we also want them to have some tricks up their sleeve to call on when they want or need them.
I’ve always “drawn words” with the students I’ve tutored when they got stuck on g’s, p’s, d’s, or b’s. Whether it’s ‘dog’ with a face in the circle, an ear made out of the line, and a tail sticking out of the ‘g’, or it’s a crazy bug made out of the letters b-u-g, I’ve tried what I can. And the sillier the better.
I really, really like the way Word World handles b’s and d’s with ‘bed’–the song, the picture, the whole thing–works well for little guys; I just wish I could find the song to share here, but my search was fruitless. Bummer.
Here are the lyrics to Frog’s song, but you really need to hear it to love it:
Which is the ‘b’? Here’s a trick that’s great. First is the line, standing tall and straight.
Next is the circle, like a pillow for your head. That’s ‘b’, the first letter in ‘bed’.
Which is the ‘d’? This trick beats them all.
First comes the circle, round like a ball. Next comes the line, tall and straight. That’s the letter ‘d’.
Isn’t that great? Line and circle is the letter ‘b’. Circle and line is the letter ‘d’. . .
from Word World, season 3, episode 7 (09/08/09).
And that was our later-night b- and d- learning for today.
Update (5/06/10): thanks to @pbsparents, the videos are now on the PBS site!